It’s easy to find a cheap umbrella just about anywhere, although chances are it won’t last too long and may not even keep you as dry as you would like. Choosing an umbrella to buy means buying a better quality one, typically paying between $30 and $40 for one that’s well constructed, durable yet easy to use. Of course, if you just want one to last you for a couple of hours, you can pay a few dollars and then discard it afterwards.
After the cost, the next consideration for many is the size. Umbrellas basically come in two sizes, full length and the collapsible type, which typically measures less than 12 inches when not in use. Some of these collapsible umbrellas measure 6 inches or less when fully collapsed and are lightweight too. The smaller type of umbrella is obviously easier to carry in a purse, backpack, or a carry on bag when flying, and it can also be carried in a deep pocket. The larger type of umbrella isn’t as portable although they are typically better made and more likely to last longer. And keep in mind that an umbrella that comes in sections and collapses in on itself typically means more places to get your fingers caught.
Of course, you want your umbrella to actually keep you dry if you’re battling rain or strong winds, and when choosing an umbrella to buy, look for one with a vented canopy. The umbrella is less likely to flip over in strong winds if the canopy has vents as the wind passes through the vents and the umbrella doesn’t turn inside out. Almost as important as the canopy part of the umbrella is the handle, which should be comfortable to hold. You may be holding your umbrella above your head for hours, or holding it in one hand while carrying a bag on the other, so a handle that’s cushioned and easy to hold works better.
You don’t need to be a golfer to take advantage of a golf umbrella. These come with a canopy larger than a regular umbrella, some up to 62 inches across, easily enough to keep several people dry at once. Golf umbrellas are generally well made and built to last, and are also lightning resistant. The drawback is their large size, but if you are anticipating strong winds or storms, the larger canopy can be invaluable. Whether it’s a golf umbrella or a regular umbrella, for more protection from the weather, look for a waterproof handle and stem that won’t rust, and a Teflon coated canopy that dries quickly and helps to repel water.
Of course, umbrellas are designed to be practical, although if you simply want to choose an umbrella as a fashion statement, you can do so. They come in all sorts of colors and patterns, and you can buy an umbrella with just about anything on the canopy, including a map of the New York subway, famous Impressionist paintings and cartoon characters.
Finally, for our recommendation, we love the Repel Umbrella brand.